How Improved MRI Machines are Pushing our Understanding of the Body

Magnetic resonance imaging machines regularly use a strength of 1.5 and 3-Tesla to scan the human body, but researchers are continually trying to increase the field strength to better understand the body. Recently, MRI's with a strength of 7-T have been approved for human use. Beyond that, a few centers are even developing MRI's with strengths of 10 and 11.7-T.

However, the University of Minnesota’s Center for Magnetic Resonance Research goes beyond that, having developed an MRI with a strength of 15-T, the most powerful in the world. To put the machine into perspective, it weighs more than 3 Boeing 737 aircraft.

MRI machines with a strength of 3-T have the ability to resolve details as small as 1 millimeter while those with 7-T can be as fine as 0.5 millimeters. 15-Tesla machines hope to see smaller than that, opening up a world of possibilities.

The journal Nature looks at how these machines a pushing the limits of human imaging.